Reacting to the latest ONS Labour Market data issued today, BCC Head of People Policy, Jane Gratton, said:
“Skills shortages and unfilled job vacancies are the stark reality for many businesses across all sectors and regions.
“We still have more than a million job vacancies which are damaging the economy by preventing firms from fulfilling order books and taking on new work.
“Training up our British workforce is a top priority for business. But that won’t happen overnight, and the pain being felt by business is very real and happening right now.
“The most recent BCC survey found that four-fifths of firms trying to recruit can’t get the people they need – this is a huge problem.
“The government can help by introducing more flexible, short term mobility options that don’t require expensive sponsor visas – such as an expanded broad youth mobility scheme.
“When firms cannot currently recruit and train from the UK labour market, then we need a pragmatic approach to immigration policy that fully considers the role overseas labour can play. That includes a Shortage Occupations List that accurately reflects the reality on the ground.
“And it means looking more closely at making use of the skills of migrants entering into the UK. In the past year we have seen a considerable rise in people coming to the UK from Hong Kong and Ukraine, but this has yet to feed through to more candidates available to fill our job vacancies.”
Read the full set of data from the ONS on the Labour Market here.